I stood as Third Party House Leader to speak in response to a Ministerial Statement provided by Hon. Anne Kang, Municipal Affairs Minister on the one year anniversary of the war in Ukraine.
I rise today to offer just a few words to the ministerial statement eloquently provided by the Minister of Municipal Affairs and responded to from the Opposition House Leader.
A year ago we stood in this House to speak of the illegal and unprovoked invasion of Ukraine by Vladimir Putin’s Russian regime. We recognized the uncertainty that was in front of Ukrainians and, indeed, all of Europe, and the uncertainty that was going to be in terms of what was going to be needed from us in order to support people who were being terrorized by this terrible atrocity.
Last year, the length of the war was unknown, and we’d watched on TV screens and heard the stories while living in the peaceful jurisdiction that we have here. Any time a dictator invades a democratic country, it feels dystopian. We saw the videos of cars fleeing, families hunkered in bomb shelters and in subways, videos emerging. Then we also saw the videos of the spirit of Ukrainian people. The whole world continues to watch.
The recent speech that was done by Putin and the response from the western world continues to have us concerned about what may yet be to come for that region, and as well for us, and the level of support that we’ll need to continue to provide.
I want to just say that I think that it’s important to acknowledge, as the minister highlighted, the many programs and services and ways that the provincial government supported. The B.C. government here moved quickly when we in our constituencies were hearing about challenges in accessing services. There was no delay in ensuring that the people that were coming, fleeing, the refugees that were fleeing that war, received the support that they need. I raise my hands to the ministers and to the public servants here who made sure that any challenges that they faced were going to be a very short in time and the least challenges that they could face.
We now have thousands of Ukrainians living here in British Columbia, and we continue to provide that support, just as the allies of Ukraine continue to provide diplomatic and military assistance to Volodymyr Zelenskyy, ensuring that, in the words that the House Leader from the opposition so eloquently said: they can stand and protect their right to a free country and a democratic country.
With that, I would just want to raise my hands to the government. I just want to echo the sentiments that we stand with Ukraine and that we’ll do everything that we can here in our provincial government to support the people who are fleeing that war to the best of our ability.